Essential Info (Treks)

Altitude sickness and other altitude related problems are important to consider before embarking on your trekking journey. There is always a chance of one getting altitude sickness that may be of mild or severe nature. Trekkers should be aware of altitude problems that they may encounter during their ascent. Usually the signs of the sickness start appearing after crossing 3000 m.  The sickness is also referred to as Acute Mountain Sickness and failure to acclimatization or rapid ascent may lead to the problem. However, it is difficult to determine who will be effected as there aren’t any specific genetic or physical traits that correlate with a susceptibility to altitude sickness.

Therefore, before conducting any trekking program, we suggest our clients to acclimatize and follow the basics preventive measures against altitude sickness. Here are the basic symptoms of the sickness and our recommendations for the prevention of the same.

1. Basic Symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Difficult to pass urine

2. Medium Symptoms:

  • Headache which is bad
  • Irregular breathing
  • Nausea
  • Mild weakness

3. Serious Symptoms:

  • Slight swelling of hands and face
  • Cannot stand upright without swaying while eyes are closed.
  • Can hear gurgling sound in the chest.
  • Zero energy.

So what should you go about doing to prevent altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness is caused mainly due to lack of proper oxygen intake in higher altitudes. Before going on a trekking trip, you should acclimatize by gradually increasing the rate of your ascent rather than doing it rapidly. When your body has to adapt to a low oxygen environment, the transition should be gradual. So, climb gradually and make sure to take breaks en route. You should also drink ample amount of water, hot garlic soup and other juices that will balance the dehydration at a higher altitude. Upon reaching the destination, it is better to hike up a bit higher and climb down for rest to the camp or the hotel. This is a good way to acclimatize. Some medicines like Diamox are also helpful. Take Diamox about 24 hours before starting your climb.

If you start getting symptoms of altitude sickness, you should immediately descend to a lower altitude. Do not increase the altitude at which you sleep by more than 300m a night. During the day, you can go up higher but at night, make sure to go back to a lower camp that is no more than 300m higher than the earlier night’s camp.

If you start suffering from serious symptoms of altitude sickness, we can immediately arrange for a horse or a porter who will carry you down to a lower altitude to places where there are communication and medical facilities. Doctors at the local clicnics have gamow bags for treatment and other medicines for immediate mitigation. We also arrange for an immediate evacuation by helicopter or a horse depending on how severe the case is.

We always suggest and prepare our clients by helping them to acclimatize. It is the best way to prevent altitude sickness and if one is properly acclimatized, chances of them showing signs of altitude sickness are very less. Besides that, we also suggest our clients to take a dose of Diamox 125-250mg about 24-48 hours before starting the trek.